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Alice/Serenade casting announced


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#1 Paquita

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 12:57 PM

This just in...
(Burnise Silvius is a guest artist from the South African Ballet Theatre.)

SERENADE

Waltz Girl CHAN HON GOH (Feb. 18 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 22 at 2 pm)
XIAO NAN YU (Feb. 19 at 2 pm/ Feb. 20 at 7:30 pm/
Feb. 21 at 7:30 pm)
JENNIFER FOURNIER (Feb. 19 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 21 at 2 pm)

Waltz Boy ALEKSANDAR ANTONIJEVIC (Feb. 18 at 7:30 pm/
Feb. 22 at 2 pm)
REX HARRINGTON (Feb. 19 at 2 pm/ Feb. 20 at 7:30 pm/
Feb. 21 at 7:30 pm)
GEON VAN DER WYST (Feb. 19 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 21 at 2 pm )


Russian Girl MARTINE LAMY (Feb. 18 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 20 at 7:30 pm/
Feb. 22 at 2 pm)
BURNISE SILVIUS* (Feb. 19 at 2 pm/ Feb. 21 at 7:30 pm)
SONIA RODRIGUEZ (Feb 19 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 21 at 2 pm)


Dark Angel STEPHANIE HUTCHISON (Feb. 18 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 20 at 7:30 pm/
Feb. 22 at 2 pm)
JULIE HAY (Feb. 19 at 2 pm/ Feb. 21 at 7:30 pm)
LISA ROBINSON (Feb. 19 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 21 at 2 pm)


Elegy Man GEON VAN DER WYST (Feb. 18 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 19 at 2 pm/
Feb. 20 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 21 at 7:30 pm)
PATRICK LAVOIE (Feb. 19 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 21 at 2 pm)
REX HARRINGTON (Feb. 22 at 2 pm)




ALICE

Child Alice GRETA HODGKINSON* (Feb. 18 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 19 at 7:30 pm/
Feb. 21 at 2 pm/ Feb. 22 at 2 pm)
SONIA RODRIGUEZ* (Feb. 19 at 2 pm/ Feb. 20 at 7:30 pm/
Feb. 21 at 7:30 pm)

Alice Hargreaves XIAO NAN YU* (Feb. 18 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 19 at 7:30 pm/
Feb. 21 at 2 pm/Feb. 22 at 2 pm)
JENNIFER FOURNIER* (Feb. 19 at 2 pm/ Feb. 20 at 7:30 pm/
Feb. 21 at 7:30 pm)

Hargreaves GEON VAN DER WYST* (Feb. 18 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 19 at 7:30 pm/
Feb. 21 at 2 pm/ Feb. 22 at 2 pm)
PATRICK LAVOIE* (Feb. 19 at 2 pm/ Feb. 20 at 7:30 pm/
Feb. 21 at 7:30 pm)

Lewis Carroll REX HARRINGTON (Feb. 18 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 19 at 7:30 pm/
Feb. 21 at 2 pm/ Feb. 22 at 2 pm)
ALEKSANDAR ANTONIJEVIC* (Feb. 19 at 2 pm/
Feb. 20 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 21 at 7:30 pm)

#2 Paquita

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 01:52 PM

Casting has been revised:

SERENADE

CHAN HON GOH, MARTINE LAMY, STEPHANIE HUTCHISON,
REX HARRINGTON, PATRICK LAVOIE
(Feb. 18 at 7:30 pm)


XIAO NAN YU, BURNISE SILVIUS*, JULIE HAY
REX HARRINGTON, JEAN-SÉBASTIEN COLAU*
(Feb. 19 at 2 pm/ Feb. 21 at 7:30 pm)

JENNIFER FOURNIER, SONIA RODRIGUEZ, LISA ROBINSON
ALEKSANDAR ANTONIJEVIC, PATRICK LAVOIE
(Feb. 19 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 21 at 2 pm)

XIAO NAN YU, MARTINE LAMY, STEPHANIE HUTCHISON
REX HARRINGTON, JEAN-SÉBASTIEN COLAU
(Feb. 20 at 7:30 pm)

CHAN HON GOH, MARTINE LAMY, STEPHANIE HUTCHISON
ALEKSANDAR ANTONIJEVIC, REX HARRINGTON
(Feb. 22 at 2 pm)

ALICE

Child Alice Child Alice SONIA RODRIGUEZ* (Feb. 18 at 7:30 pm/
Feb. 19 at 2 pm/ Feb. 20 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 21 at 7:30 pm)
GRETA HODGKINSON* (Feb. 19 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 21 at 2 pm/
Feb. 22 at 2 pm)

Alice Hargreaves JENNIFER FOURNIER* (Feb. 18 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 19 at 2 pm/
Feb. 20 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 21 at 7:30 pm)
XIAO NAN YU* (Feb. 19 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 21 at 2 pm/
Feb. 22 at 2 pm)

Hargreaves PATRICK LAVOIE* (Feb. 18 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 19 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm/
Feb. 20 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 21 at 2 pm at 7:30 pm / Feb. 22 at 2 pm)

Lewis Carroll ALEKSANDAR ANTONIJEVIC* (Feb. 18 at 7:30 pm/
Feb. 19 at 2 pm/ Feb. 20 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 21 at 7:30 pm)
REX HARRINGTON (Feb. 19 at 7:30 pm/ Feb. 21 at 2 pm/
Feb. 22 at 2 pm)

#3 Paquita

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 08:42 AM

I attended last night's performance (opening night). Prior to the show there was a Ballet Talk with Glen Tetley which was very interesting. He spoke mostly about "Alice" and the creation process. He was very open in the choreographing process, allowing dancers to alter steps to suit themselves. I remember reading in Karen Kain's autobiography that she enjoyed working with him and Alice Hargreaves "fit her like a glove". Kain wanted to be in Tetley's new work when Erik Bruhn comissioned it, but she knew she was too old to play the young Alice. What original began as a cameo appearance from the mature Alice turned into one of the ballet's leading roles. Tetley spoke about the dancers he created "Alice" on, describing Kimberly Glasco as "a dream to work with... a revelation" while understudy Martine Lamy "could be as tough as nails". Lewis Carroll was danced by a young Rex Harrington (then, still in the corps) in one of his first major roles. Current ballet master Peter Ottman was the first Hargreaves and caterpillar.
Tetley also spoke more generally about his experience as a choreographer and dancer. Sort of a rarity in American dance, he equally enjoyed working in modern and classical idioms. He found the divide between modern and classical dance in the US gaping, while in Europe the two were more synthesized and this was part of the reason why he chose to work with the Hamburg, Stuttgart Ballet, and Netherlands Dance Theatre. One audience member pointed out that Tetley's style changed from more modern and Graham influenced to more balletic after he began working with the Stuttgart. Can any posters here elaborate on this observation? The only other Tetley ballet I have seen is "Voluntaries" and next season NBoC will do "La Ronde". "Alice" however, seems to be unlike any of his other works, and unlike anything else in NBoC's repertoire.

Unfortunately, Alice failed to meet my expectations. While the ballet should have a universal appeal, it seemed to be too dismal for younger viewers, yet too ridiculously absurd for an adult audience. If a choice had to be made though, it is more appropriate for adults. The non-linear narrative is complex and layered with recurring motifs like a rabbit's glove or a white fan and themes of memory, aging, illusion and life. The ballet's conception is inventive and fantastic, the choreography includes acrobatic elements and modern influences. Yet the piece lacks direction. Like Alice, the audience may feel puzzled and frustrated by the chaotic mess of Wonderland. Whether that is Tetley's intent, I don't know. However, it does not urge one to see the ballet again.
IMO, the music (David Del Tredici's Child Alice Part 1: In Memory of a Summer Day") is problematic and not suitable in part because it is not very "danceable". Though hints of whimsy can be heard in the music, there is an underlying eerie feel to it. The music is dissonant with a hypnotic, repetitive theme (that I *still* have in my head right now!) building up to dramatic climaxes which are not completely matched in choreography.
The costumes and sets were quite imaginative and evoked a surreal, outlandish atmosphere.
The dancing was excellent however. Sonia Rodriguez gave a believable portrayal of the child Alice in all her girlish naivete and innocent curiosity. She danced with lyricism and a sense of spontineity, virtually carrying the entire ballet. Jennifer Fournier played the mature Alice effectively. As Lewis Carroll, Aleksandar Antonijevic displayed superb technique and conveyed a feeling of unsettled contemplation in the eccentric mathematician. Guillaume Cote was a delightful white rabbit, hurriedly hopping along and then freezing completely for a moment much like real rabbits do (Tetley mentioned teaching the role to the new dancers and asking them if they had ever observed rabbits. Then he asked if they had read the books. "No, but we're familiar with Disney", to which Tetley responded, "this is worlds away from Disney!!"). Patrick Lavoie danced 2 roles; Alice's husband, Hargreaves and the caterpillar. Stephanie Hutchison was a comically feisty queen of hearts. One of the most effective and humourous scenes is the Mad Hatter's tea party. Yesterday the Mad Hatter was danced by Jean Sebastien Colau.

Balanchine's "Serenade" which opened the evening was very different with its unified grace and innately beautiful choreography (in Alice I felt that much of its beauty came from the dancers rather than the actual steps). Both the ballet and the music are favourites of mine. Despite a few bobbles (one of the corps girls tripped, which momentarily detracted from the effect) and shaky pirouette landings, the ballet still maintained an almost dream-like quality. Earlier, in Tetley's interview, he described his definition of "classical" as "pure". The enduring appeal of Serenade is its purity. It feels like distilled ballet, movement stripped to its essence- uncluttered by sets, free from narrative. Spontaneity dances with a primary structure. Although Balanchine improvised as ballerinas arrived late and male dancers were limited, each element of Serenade looks like it belongs. I felt that the classical tradition was not ignored as there seemed to be references to Giselle (corps' hops in 1st arabesque plie) and Swan Lake (the 5 girls with linking arms reminded me of the dance of the baby swans). The ballet is filled with lasting images that remain imprinted on the mind long afterwards. Such is the final scene, with the waltz girl lifted up and the corps in their bourees, arched backwards to face the heavens.
Chan Hon Goh danced the waltz girl with great freedom of movement and poetic flow. She was partnered by a confident Rex Harrington. As the Russian girl, Martine Lamy lends a different line with her muscular upper body. There is an infectious joy in her dancing, coupled with a consistent serenity. The dark angel was danced by Stephanie Hutchison who is quickly making the role her own. She dances "big" and her technique is strong and clean- not a wobble in the supported arabesque turns. She can come off as cold in other ballets, but her somewhat phlegmatic temperament works to her advantage here.

Did anyone else go? Impressions?
Also, if anyone saw Alice the last time it was performed, I would be interested to hear your thoughts (or any opinions about Tetley's work).

#4 mom2

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 08:52 AM

I'm sorry I missed you Paquita! We were probably in the same traffic jam on the way home too! I didn't realize there were such things at 10 pm!

I agree totally with your comments, and you are so much more articulate than I. I wondered if my younger daughter would appreciate Alice; I think she would want to see more of the whimsy come through. It was such a treat though to hear Tetley talk about his work!

I noticed the same bobbles as you during Serenade, but it is such a wonderful piece I would probably enjoy it no matter what.

#5 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 11:49 PM

Thank you both for the reports! I saw Alice in mid mid 80s when I had first started to dance and the NBoC came to the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC. They did that and a Danny Grossman piece that I barely recall. I remember thinking Alice was poorly plotted, and the del Tredici score didn't help; it isn't really meant to be danced. I did love the lobster costumes, though. How does Lamy look in other Balanchine? Is she fond of dancing his works? I can imagine the Tema Russo suiting her.

#6 mom2

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Posted 20 February 2004 - 05:01 AM

The review in the Globe and Mail this morning was interesting, and fairly critical of Tetley's choreography. If I was techno-with it enough to post a link, I would! at any rate, from hearing Tetley talk I would say that it's an example of a thinker's work. The addition of the adult Alice also came about because Karen kain expressed an interested in being cast, and he didn't think she would fit the "child alice"....on further pondering he created the adult role which, as we know, morphed into a significant piece of dancing.

as far as Martine Lamy goes, for some reason she looks much taller (I'd use the word bigger, but that has such a negative connotation which connected with female dancers) onstage than off. I've seen her on the street a couple of times, or walking through the tiny spot where one waits for small Nutcracker people by the stage door and she is quite petite indeed. In fact, the first time I saw her I had to do a double take - I had assumed she was so much taller! It is amazing to me that she seems different onstage.... This is perhaps a study that someone out there should undertake!

#7 Paquita

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Posted 20 February 2004 - 08:04 PM

Thank you, mom2. Re: traffic jams, it is always a slow drive home when the Leafs/Raptors games end at exactly the same time as the ballet :wink:
I also read Paula Citron's review today (as well as Michael Crabb's in the National Post). Her mention of Michael Jackson made me laugh... I agree with Crabb, Tetley's "Alice" is extremely ambitious. I enjoy its complexity, as it renders the work so much more interesting than a simple Disney-like retelling of the storybook tale. Yet, as I said earlier, it's not a ballet that I'm too keen on seeing again. I think my taste runs towards either full-length narrative ballets or neo-classical "pure" dance, such as Serenade, rather than hybrid narrative/abstract, stream of consciousness-like ballets. It deffinately gives one a lot to think about though...
At its premiere the critics loved it, most notably Anna Kisselgoff (NY Times). It proved to be NBoC's ticket to touring the US and Europe, this time without the umbrella of Nureyev's name. I wonder why it was not performed for over a decade, and how this generation of dancer compares to the original cast. The only remaining dancer is Rex Harrington.

As for Martine Lamy, I haven't seen her in a lot of Balanchine. She was stunning in Emerald's last season though. She's very well suited to the romantic style. She has also danced Theme and Variations a few years ago, but I didn't have the chance to see her. NBoC is doing Theme again this May, but I'm not sure if she'll be cast this time (it's so technical!). In the past she has danced in Symphony in C, Sylvia pdd, and Tchaikovsky pdd.
I have seen Lamy in person before, and yes, she is quite petite. Perhaps she seems taller on stage because she dances "large"! She is certainly not one to get eaten up by the scenery!

Here's the link for the Globe's review as well as the Star's:
http://www.national..../alice-serenade

#8 jer468

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Posted 22 February 2004 - 08:59 AM

It was interesting seeing Alice many years later.

I think I was perplexed by the ballet in the 80s. I was less so the other night (although cussing myself for not having re-read the book) but I didn't necessarily enjoy it either.

In the mid/late 80s Tetley was actually an Artistic Associate with the company. The relationship began with him setting Sphinx on the company (much more Graham-esq than the later work) which was followed by Alice, La Ronde and then the totally forgettable Tagore. His movement sat much much better on the company in the 80s than it does now. He loved working with Kimberley (how ironic that James would later describe her as a choreographer's nightmare), Karen, Gizella Witkowsky, Jeremy Ransom, Peter Ottman, Kevin Pugh and especially Owen Montague for whom he created the White Rabbit. All those dancers are gone and the current crop, technical marvels all, move very differently. As a result, I don't think this work was served particularly well by the company (especially the corps, which generally looked bewildered).

I think it a mistake when someone tries to create a story ballet without the assistance of a "librettist". Much of the problem with this work is that the narrative is not clear and as an audience member you become disconnected very quickly. And then it just becomes boring.

As for the "senior" Alice, there was a lot of talk in the mid 80s about this woman. In fact, there was a movie made about her. I don't remember any of the details but I do remember that the ballet seemed like another take on her story. I don't know though why her husband is featured in the ballet. Apart from bringing her back to her Victorian world, that relationship doesn't really do much.

I'm glad that James is revisiting Tetley's work. La Ronde is well worth seeing and I think that the company will have greater success with it. I hope they'll do Sphinx again. It would be a wonderful vehicle for Jennifer F and Xiao Yu

I think the company has had a bit of a renaissance with Serenade. About 8 years ago I decided that I would rather not see the ballet any time soon and then when it was last staged I was shocked at the difference. The women, especially, have made this work their own. The other night I saw Xiao, Martine and Stephanie in the leads and they were all wonderful. Rex is barely hanging in there (but he remains a wonderful partner for Xiao) and JS Colau was simply out of his league and should not have been dancing that tricky part (although he might have had to learn it quite quickly since Geon was originally cast). The corps looked good although not wonderful ... but one senses that it was more a case of a slightly off night. This company has become a very good ambassador for this work.

As for Martine, I suspect that she has danced nearly all of the Balanchine rep ... in her earlier years especially when the company favoured more lyrical dancers, her athletic style was well suited to Balanchine. Her bio says that she has danced "many" of his works.

#9 tigger

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Posted 22 February 2004 - 06:49 PM

Alice was a disappointment. But Serenade was lovely.

There is such depth in the story (not that I've read it lately), and in Charles Dodgson's life, but it didn't come through in the choreography. Like others on the thread have mentioned, Alice was unstructured and frenetic. The music didn't have an overall shape to it, never properly pausing or allowing for a breath. It was hard to follow what was going on, or what the significance was.


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